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Fixing Our Streets DRAFT Proposal (2024-2028)

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PBOT paving crew laying asphalt with utility worker watching the work.
Draft proposal for the Fixing Our Streets program at the Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) if the local 10-cent per gallon gas tax is renewed. Funds to be allocated in proposed categories of paving, safety, and community street services.
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Background

The Fixing Our Streets program at the Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) is focused on providing basic maintenance and safety services. It is funded by a local 10-cent per gallon gas tax on light vehicles and a companion Heavy Vehicle Use Tax (HVUT).

Portland voters established the 10-cent per gallon local gas tax with 53% support in 2016. In that same year, Portland City Council established the Heavy Vehicle Use Tax to ensure that trucks pay their proportionate share for street maintenance and safety. After four years of the program, Portland voters renewed the 10-cent local gas tax with 77% support in 2020.

From 2016 through 2024, Portland’s existing Fixing Our Streets program will have generated approximately $150 million for basic transportation safety and maintenance services. These resources have funded safety improvements across Portland including projects at high-crash locations and near schools. Investments have also focused on preventive pavement maintenance, helping to avoid larger reconstruction costs in the future.

Continuing the Fixing Our Streets program requires a renewal of the Heavy Vehicle Use Tax by city council and the local gas tax by voters in the May 2024 election.

The draft proposal keeps Portland’s gas tax at 10 cents per gallon. The average driver would continue to pay roughly $5 per month for the tax. This figure is based on driving 12,000 miles a year in a vehicle with a fuel efficiency of 20 miles per gallon, with all fuel purchased within the city of Portland.

Since the start of the Fixing Our Streets program, an oversight committee has provided accountability. This group uses the resource allocation strategy outlined below and detailed in city council documents to guide their oversight.


Overview of proposed resource allocation, 2024-2028 (DRAFT)

Should voters renew Fixing Our Streets in 2024, it’s estimated the 10-cent gas tax would generate $70.5 million over four years for street maintenance and safety improvements as detailed below. If the measure does not pass, the City of Portland will have less funding available for transportation maintenance and safety services. Our proposal allocates these funds as follows: 

Pie chart in three sections, pink: Community Street Services $23.5 million, green: Smoother Streets Projects $23.5 million, and blue: Safer Streets Projects $23.5 million

Smoother Streets Projects ($23.5 million):

  • Paving busy streets and neighborhood greenways ($19 million)
  • Paving local streets ($4.5 million)

Safer Streets Projects ($23.5 million):

  • Safety on busy streets ($9 million)
  • Safety on neighborhood streets ($6 million)
  • Safe Routes to School ($6 million)
  • Additional safety enhancements ($2.5 million)

Community Street Services ($23.5 million):

  • Potholes ($5.5 million)
  • Signals and lighting maintenance ($3.5 million)
  • Gravel Street Service ($4 million)
  • Base repair ($4 million)
  • Safer intersections ($2 million)
  • Pedestrian, bicycle, and public space retrofits ($2.5 million)
  • Residential street safety and traffic calming ($2 million)

Smoother Streets Projects ($23.5 million)

Infographic with illustration of neighborhood street on left side. Right side contains equation: Paving on Busy Streets and Neighborhood Greenways $20 Million + Paving on Local Streets $3.5 Million, Subtotal $23.5 Million
  • Paving busy streets and neighborhood greenways ($19 million)
  • Paving local streets ($4.5 million)
Photo of three PBOT crew members in safety gear driving, guiding, or brushing fresh asphalt during a paving project.

What is it? Fixing Our Streets (2024-2028) paving dollars are focused on preventive maintenance like grind-and-inlay and sealing treatments that preserve and extend the life of our roads. This includes reconstructing corner curb ramps to improve accessibility and upgrading pavement markings to current standards. It also includes installing high-visibility crosswalks or adding striped buffers to bike lanes where space allows.

How will funding be allocated? Total of $23.5 million for paving projects, spread approximately equally across the four new city council districts. Includes:

  • $19 million for grind-and-inlay paving projects on collector streets and arterials, transit and freight routes, emergency routes, streets on our High Crash Network, the Neighborhood Greenways that make up our pedestrian and bike network. This work will be informed by PBOT’s Equity Matrix.
  • $4.5 million for crack seal and slurry seal projects on local streets.

Safer Streets Projects ($23.5 million)

Illustrated street scene with safety features like crosswalk and crossing signal. On right side has equation: Safety on Busy Streets $9 Million + Safety on Neighborhood Streets $6 Million + Safe Routes to School $6 Million + Additional Safety Enhancements $2.5 Million = Subtotal $23.5 Million
  • Safety on busy streets ($9 million)
  • Safety on neighborhood streets ($6 million)
  • Safe Routes to School ($6 million)
  • Additional safety enhancements ($2.5 million)

Safety on busy streets ($9 million)

Photo of intersection at night as two PBOT vehicles with cranes place a new signal in place. Orange safety cones surround the work site.

What is it? This category is designed to provide small-scale safety improvements to reduce conflicts, address high-crash locations, and lower speeds on busy streets. It would provide funds for new or improved crossings, sidewalks, and lighting along our busiest streets, especially for projects that can leverage additional outside funding. Consistent with Portland’s Vision Zero strategy, investments will be focused on the High Crash Network. This network represents 8% of Portland streets yet accounts for 62% of traffic deaths.

How will funding be allocated?

  • Approximately $1 million or more will be invested in each of the four new city council districts.
  • $5 million to make larger safety investments informed by PBOT’s Equity Matrix, especially projects that leverage additional outside funding.

Priority locations: 

  • Where safety improvements are needed on the High Crash Network or other documented high-crash segments or intersections along busy streets in Portland
  • High priorities in PedPDX: Portland’s Citywide Pedestrian Plan, based on the need for safety, equity, and access to transit and major destinations

Safety on neighborhood streets ($6 million)

male cyclist crossing street

What is it? Neighborhood streets are often the main routes for people walking, rolling, and biking to their local schools, parks, and main streets. This category would fund traffic calming such as speed bumps and diverters, crosswalks, and other improvements along our low-traffic pedestrian and bike network known as Neighborhood Greenways, especially around parks, schools, main streets, and other destinations.

How will funding be allocated? A total of $6 million for safety projects like neighborhood greenways, traffic calming such as speed bumps and diverters, and crosswalks on local streets and minor collectors that primarily serve the surrounding neighborhoods, as follows:

  • Approximately $750,000 or more invested in each of the four new council districts.
  • $3 million to make larger safety investments with a focus on areas that score higher on PBOT’s Equity Matrix, especially projects that leverage additional outside funding.

Priority locations:

  • Projects in neighborhood safety plans such as East Portland in Motion, Southwest in Motion, North Portland in Motion, Lower Southeast Rising, and Connected Cully
  • Neighborhood-level projects that address deficiencies in the pedestrian and bicycle network identified by our citywide pedestrian and bicycle plans
  • Small-scale safety projects that respond to issues reported by community members and organizations through our safety hotline or direct outreach. Projects are vetted by engineering staff to confirm the need and level of safety benefit.

Safe Routes to School ($6 million) 

What is it? PBOT’s Safe Routes to School program is a partnership between the city, schools, neighborhoods, community organizations, and agencies. Projects are designed to improve the safety of students and families walking, biking, and rolling  to school.

How will funding be allocated? A total of $6 million for safety projects like crossings, traffic calming, lighting, signage, and improvements along neighborhood greenways directly adjacent to schools and on the main routes regularly used by students and caregivers to get to school, as follows:

  • Approximately $750,000 or more invested in each of the four new city council districts.
  • $3 million to make larger safety investments with a focus on areas that score higher on PBOT’s Equity Matrix, especially projects that leverage additional outside funding.

Priority Locations:

  • Identified projects in the Safe Routes to School plan, developed in 2017 with the first cycle of funding from Fixing Our Streets
  • Other Safe Routes to School projects added since 2017 because of new or emerging issues due to changes in school boundaries or other developments

Additional safety enhancements ($2.5 million) 

What is it? This program is designed to provide additional safety elements to maintenance projects. This combines both safety and maintenance work.

How will funding be allocated?

  • $2.5 million citywide to leverage repaving projects, utility projects, and other similar work to add safety features like enhanced crossings and other pedestrian and bikeway improvements

Priority Locations:

  • Projects will be primarily chosen based on leverage opportunity and consistency with existing plans, public input, and cost effectiveness
  • The work will be informed by PBOT’s Equity Matrix.

Community Street Services ($23.5 million)

Illustrated infographic of street scene with utility workers and equipment. Right side has equation: Potholes $5.5 Million + Signals And Lighting Maintenance $3.5 Million + Gravel Street Service $4 Million + Base Repair $3.5 Million + Safer Intersections $2 Million + Pedestrian, Bicycle, and Public Space Retrofits $3 Million + Traffic Calming $2 Million, Subtotal $23.5 Million

What is it? Responding to routine maintenance and safety requests. Examples of this work include filling potholes, fixing damaged traffic signals and streetlights, maintaining gravel streets, and calming traffic.

How will funding be allocated?

  • Potholes ($5.5 million) - Funds a crew to address potholes
  • Gravel Street Service ($4 million) - Funds a crew focused on PBOT’s Gravel Street Service throughout the city
  • Base repair ($4 million) - Funds base repair projects
  • Signal and lighting maintenance ($3.5 million) - Funds signal and streetlight repair and maintenance
  • Safer intersections ($2 million) - Funds safety improvements at intersections with signals. Examples: adding accessible pedestrian push buttons and bicycle detection, changing signals to give people walking and bicycling a head start crossing the street, and adjustments to signal timing.
  • Pedestrian, bicycle, and public space retrofits ($2.5 million) - Funds permanent upgrades to temporary safety installations. Examples: replacing reflective plastic wands along a bike lane with concrete traffic separators; replacing a painted curb extension with a concrete one; or supplementing planters with concrete islands.
  • Residential street safety and traffic calming ($2 million) - Provides funding  for PBOT’s hotline to respond to safety concerns from the public. This would also fund traffic safety interventions such as speed bumps on residential streets, with such projects prioritized by safety and equity criteria.